The best places to live in North America are in Canada, but can you afford to live there?


Four of the top five North American cities to live in are in Canada, with Calgary ranking first, followed by Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

It is according to World Habitability Ranking, an annual assessment published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the Economist’s sister company. The survey ranks 172 cities (previously 140) for their quality of urban life based on factors such as health care and political stability.

The survey also breaks down their rankings to look at the best cities in regions, like North America. Atlanta is our southern neighbor’s number one city, ranking fifth in North America. Internationally, Calgary ranked 4th, Vancouver 5th and Toronto 8th. The top three international spots went to Vienna, Copenhagen and Zurich.

What makes a city livable?

More than 30 factors related to education, culture, environment, health care, infrastructure and stability were analyzed. The index authors also explained that the best cities were chosen based on how well they rebounded from the pandemic, in addition to considering stability, good infrastructure and services, and enjoyable leisure activities. .

Although Mexico is a North American country, it is not included in the EIU North American Index.

“Western European and Canadian cities dominate the top of our rankings,” the report says, citing how daily life has “nearly returned to normal in these cities” after achieving high COVID vaccination rates. -19 and ended blockages.

Ranking high despite housing affordability issue?

When publishing our report for the top five Canadian cities for housing affordability and job growth, none of the EIU selections made the list.

While major urban centers — like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal — offer the most lucrative jobs and career options, they also have some of the most expensive real estate in the country.

Canadians know this and some are willing to make sacrifices to find affordable housing.

July 20 Light Pollcommissioned by RE/MAX, revealed that approximately 64% of Canadians cite moving as one of the main sacrifices they would be willing to make to buy affordable homes.

The online survey surveyed 1,529 Canadians between June 24 and June 26, 2022.

The survey also revealed that 43 percent said the high price of real estate in their area was a barrier to market entry. Other barriers include a higher cost of living (35%); a salary deficit (24 percent); market volatility (24%) and rising interest rates (24%).

This explains why the federal government provides $1.5 billion to expand the Rapid Housing Initiative and create at least 6,000 additional affordable housing units across Canada.

Is there hope with Calgary and Montreal?

When looking at benchmark real estate prices, Calgary and Montreal are significantly more affordable than Toronto and Vancouver, where prices for a single-detached home start at around a million.

In Montreal, the average sale price of a house reached $576,760 in July after an annual increase of 6%. The coveted single-family homes for Canadian families saw prices rise 10% year over year to $550,000 in Montreal, and the average condo price rose 9% year over year to reach $392,000.

So what about income? According to Statistics Canada, the average income in Montreal for 2020 is $49,600. This is below Canada’s national average of $51,300 in 2020.

Calgary Real Estate Benchmark Price Reaches $581,600 in July, up 13% from the levels recorded last year. Single-detached homes in Calgary were up 9% year over year to around $637,000 in July, and condominiums were up 6% to $275,000.

Calgary’s average income, meanwhile, is above the national average at $58,500 in 2020.

The issue of income versus house prices

Vancouver’s benchmark price for single-detached homes is above $2 millionwhich represents an increase of 13.4% compared to June 2021. Condo prices in Vancouver Pink 11.4% from July last year to reach a benchmark price of $755,000.

With Vancouver’s real estate market being so expensive, one would expect the average income to be higher or even higher than that of Calgary, right?

Not exactly. According to Statistics Canada, the average income in Vancouver is equal to the national average at $52,600.

For Toronto, the average sale price is approximately $1.5 millionwhich remained 5.3% above the June 2021 level. Greater Toronto Area prices for individual houses in July averaged about $1.4 million, semi-detached about $1 million, and condos about $719,237.

Toronto’s average income is not much higher than the national average. For 2020, Torontonians won on average $52,700.

For many Canadians, seeing the price of homes in their country exceed their income is not breaking news.

While all G7 countries have seen their house price-to-income ratio increase over the past year, Canada has one of the highest house price-to-income ratios among 38 developed countries, according to the latest organization for economic co-operation and development index.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, the ratio index reached a whopping 141.9, which means house prices have jumped at a rate 41.9% faster than incomes since 2015, according to data from the OECD. During this time, the The US ratio index was 130.5 in the fourth quarter of 2021.

What makes Toronto and Vancouver so expensive?

Last year, Ontario received half of all newcomers to Canada, with the majority aiming to settle in Toronto where all the lucrative job opportunities are.

Known for its scenic beauty, vancouver metro also attracts many immigrants. British Columbia’s population growth is expected to be driven by immigration again this year, when it welcomes a record 70,000+ permanent residents.

“Our region continues to grow because we attract people and businesses from all over the world,” said Toronto Regional Real Estate Board CEO John DiMichele in July.

DiMichele also urged policymakers at all levels to build more housing because “housing demand” will “remain strong for the long term.”

This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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